Ohio is considering a bill that would legalize sports betting within its borders, and Ohio House spokesman Bob Cupp says it is a “high priority” to “complete sports betting” before the summer legislature is canceled. The proposed bill would put the Ohio Casino Control Commission in charge of regulating the bill.
The proposal would open the floodgates for competing sports betting providers in Ohio. As written, the legislation provides for up to 40 three-year sports betting licenses, with 20 of these licensees being able to work with online operators such as DraftKings, FanDuel and Barstool Sportsbook.
The bill also allows professional sports teams in the state to apply for sports betting licenses that cost $ 1 million for the three-year term. In addition, a 10% tax will be levied on operators, which is higher than an 8% tax rate discussed in previous proposals introduced in Ohio. However, this is far less than its neighbor Pennsylvania, which tax operators at a 36% tax rate.
Senator Kirk Schurring (R-Canton) stated that Ohio casinos and racinos are begging for a monopoly on sports betting, which was shot down in his proposal. At the other end of the spectrum, there is a proposal pending in Florida that could create a real monopoly for the Seminole tribe, where the tribe may be able to have complete control over the location and operators of sports betting in the Sunshine State.
As stated by Cupp, the bill is expected to pass quickly through both houses of the Ohio legislature. The bill, which includes sports betting, is slated to be heard in the Ohio Senate on May 12th. However, when the law goes into effect, it is unlikely to go into effect in time for this year’s National Football League season. The effective date for sports betting stated in the invoice is January 1, 2022.
Darren Heitner is the founder of Heitner Legal. He is the author of How to Play the Game: What Every Sports Lawyer Needs to Know, published by the American Bar Association, and is an associate professor at Levin College of Law, University of Florida. You can reach him by email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @DarrenHeitner.